By Jacqueline Rosokoff
It’s clear from listening to Mika Cole that music is in her blood. Mika comes from a family of singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists who cover everything from Jazz to Opera. Her own sound is one of soul, her sultry voice blends effortlessly with the strums of her acoustic guitar. Read on as COREnered talks musical creation and inspiration with this Southern California songstress.
- What is your first musical memory?
I must have been only 3 or 4 years old, I was lying in bed and listening to my parents and their friends jamming in the living room. I remember trying to identify all of the instruments that were being played. I thought it sounded like so much fun and i felt like i was missing out. I also remember laughing hysterically when someone was using the whammy bar on the guitar they were playing because it sounded so funny.
- What was the first concert you ever went to?
My first real concert was at Woodstock in 1998.
That probably made up for the many concerts that I never got a chance to go
to. I was completely amped up from the get go, flew from CA to NY, took a 7
hour bus ride, and by the 3rd day came to the conclusion that I
might not make it out alive! It was one heck of a festival and I got a chance to
see so many amazing performers.
- What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration?
I don’t really go to anyone or any particular place for inspiration. Most of my
ideas are created in solitude at home. I seem to write more when I am sad or
angry⎯singing and playing was my coping mechanism for dealing with problems in my family. But lately I have been trying to channel my happiness into new songs and I feel good about sharing them with other people.
- Without using the words "alternative," "pop,” or "rock," describe your sound.
I would say my sound is Acoustic Soul. I have always had a sultry voice,
even when I was younger, my register was much lower than other girls my age. So
I identified with a much more mature sound that has carried into my
songs. I also grew up with two brothers who played electric guitar and drums,
so I was introduced to bands like Metallica and learned how to play "Stairway
to Heaven" on guitar. So eventually I married the two concepts and created a
soulful sound accompanied by my acoustic guitar.
- Stones or Beatles?
I didn’t grow up listening to either if you can believe that. But as I
got older I came to like songs like "Blackbird" and "Wild Horses" from
listening to one of my neighbors play them on guitar. I also have a strong
memory of my father taking me to one of his friends houses and telling me about
all of the Beatles memorabilia on the walls. I remember thinking "that's a weird name for a band."
- What's your dream collaboration?
I really don’t know who that would be with. I enjoy listening to John Mayer
and I love singing along with great guitar players. I guess I would have to say that I would like to do a duet⎯I’d be singing and someone like John Mayer would be playing alongside me, using the guitar to harmonize with my voice.
- Do you find the song or does the song find you?
Sometimes a melody will find me in my dreams, and other times I
have to work on creating an idea out of nothing. Both can be frustrating
because an idea for a song can come really easily, but crafting,
creating, and finishing one is another story.
Sometimes I have a story I’ve wanted to tell for some time, and
others come to me in the heat of the moment. But in the end, no matter how
it started, it is exhilarating when I feel like I have created something that is uniquely special to me but that can also be shared with the world.
- How do you discover new music
I usually find new artists on the internet. I rarely watch TV channels like MTV
or VH1 because they stopped playing music videos long time ago. I also have this App on my iPhone that can identify a song playing on the radio or TV. Then I usually go to ITunes and buy that album. It has definitely changed over the last decade when the norm was me hearing something on the radio and rushing out the store to buy a CD.